The District 69 Backpack Program got a much-needed funding boost this week via a $28,200 donation from the 100+ Women Who Care Oceanside group.
The founder of the program, Virginia Worcester, said the donation came at the right time.
“The cost of food has gone up considerably since last year and the donations we’ve been receiving from individuals and businesses this year have gone down,” said Worcester.
The program provides children with a backpack stocked with food every Friday, to ensure that they don’t go into weekends without food. It is offered in School District 69 (Qualicum) from Nanoose Bay to Bowser.
Worcester said the donation from 100+ Women Who Care Oceanside was truly a blessing as the program has now grown, absorbing more families being provided with food the whole week. The program also continues on during the summer months, which Worcester said they’ve never done before.
“We’ve expanded the amount of food that they’re getting because the need was just so much greater,” said Worcester. “Those are some major changes this year. So donations like this from the 100+ women is huge.”
Worcester said she had doubts she would be able to sustain the program for next year without more funds.
“I was actually feeling like I wasn’t sure if I wanted to carry on next year because I was thinking ‘how am I going to get the money to carry it on?’” said Worcester. “I think people don’t understand we’re not just raising money for right now, today. I have to have enough money to start the program in September and to get us through the summer. So this donation from 100+ Women Who Care has been amazing because it’s taken just the stress off my shoulders that we for sure can start in September.”
It is the largest donation 100+ Women Who Care Oceanside have given to a charity since the group first started in 2017.
“It’s a wonderful charity and the more I read about it, the more impactful I think it really is for our community,” said Melissa Tracey, a member of the organizing committee. “With one in three kids is living in poverty in (Parksville Qualicum Beach), which is really upsetting, to know that we can actually impact the lives of kids is really important.”
Anyone wishing to donate can go online at the District 69 Backpack Program website at https://www.district69backpackprogram.com/
All cheques must be made out to School District 69. You can also drop them off at Borealis Hair Salon and Champagne Boutique at 105-222 West Second Avenue, Qualicum Beach; or at the School District 69 office at 2nd Floor, 100 Jensen Avenue East in Parksville.